Ash disease meeting

The Forestry Commission will bring woodland owners and managers together in Bury St Edmunds next month to discuss the long term measures required to protect the region’s ash trees and slow the spread of Chalara dieback disease.

The commission will use the Plant Health Day on December 10 to update those directly affected. It follows an unprecedented survey of UK forests.

Area director Steve Scott said: “Now we have a clearer picture of the distribution of the disease it is important that we are able to provide those directly involved with the latest information so we can work together in a combined approach.”

“As the picture has changed so quickly we are aware of a need to dispel some myths that have evolved as well as to discuss the long-term protection of our woodland.

“Invites are currently being sent out and we would encourage woodland owners and managers to register to attend the event as soon as possible as it is likely to attract a lot of interest.”

The latest figures show that the tree disease has been confirmed in 85 sites in the wider environment across Britain, with the majority in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The event will include expert speakers who will focus on the implications of the fungus Chalara fraxinea and the biosecurity measures which can be used to slow the spread of the disease. It will also include an update on other tree pests and diseases.

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Ms Scott said: “Our woodland is a natural resource which needs to be protected against a variety of pests and diseases not just Chalara dieback of ash. We will also discuss the lessons learnt from this outbreak and how we can work together to protect against all potential threats in order to conserve our environment and ensure our woodland can continue to contribute to the region’s economy.”

The Plant Health Day will take place at Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds on Monday, December 10, between 10.30am and 3pm. To register to attend the event contact Teresa Betterton on 01223 773066 or email eandem@forestry.gsi.gov.uk by Monday, November 26. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.